Academy put Scholars celebration on ice

Academy's Romario Dixon earned the adulation of his teammates after his game-winner.

Academy Sports Club headed to their Week 14 CIFA Premier League match against Scholars International at Ed Bush Sports Complex on Sunday, 18 March, with a clear goal: to hand their opponents their first defeat of the season and, in the process, delay any celebration by Scholars of another league title.

For the youthful Academy side, it was mission accomplished!

It was Scholars who had the first good opportunity when Rolly Bodden sent a cross in front the face of goal and connected with Dwight Dunk, but the header went over the cross bar and safely out of play. Seven minutes later, netminder Jermaine Brown thwarted an Academy attack, poking a threatening shot wide of the goal.

Brown was again tested, as Academy pressed forward. At the end of a scramble in front the Scholars’ goal, Jonah Ebanks connected with a close-range shot that the keeper couldn’t hold on to and it was advantage Academy in the 26th minute.

Scholars pulled level in the 35th minute when defender Oneil Taylor pushed forward and headed the ball past Academy keeper Miguel Pitta.

Scholars had reason to celebrate when Oneil Taylor (4) equalised.

A draw would be enough to clinch the league title for Scholars, and with the scores equal at the half, they just about had one hand on the trophy that sat pitch-side. That showed early in the second half, as the West Bay side appeared content with taking the draw but Academy coach Jack Brazil must have surely fired up his players during the interval and got them to rise to the occasion.

Academy played as though it was a cup final and needed a win and were rewarded when Romario Dixon put them ahead in the 68th. It was then that Scholars players sensed the urgency and intensity rose, with supporters urging on their team.

Scholars pressed, creating chance after chance but Academy were equal to the task of denying them the equalising goal they so desperately sought. When the four minutes of added time expired upon the referee’s whistle, it was Academy who were in celebratory mode after handing the league leaders their first loss in a dozen outings this season.

Damalay Howelle (L) and Jonah Ebanks battled in the midfield for much of the game.

Scholars International remain three points clear of Roma United atop the standings, each with a game remaining. A challenging match-up with a resurgent Elite Sports Club next weekend stands between Scholars and another title. Just as they proved to be Academy’s biggest supporters on the night, Roma United players are sure to be urging on Elite in that West Bay derby; as they have to wait until 8 April for their final league match against defending champs Bodden Town FC.

See recap of Week 14 results and table below:

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